NL's Gatling, Kee commit to Wake Tech CC
North Lenoir’s Jayden Gatling, left, and De’Shaun Kee are heading to Wake Tech, signing their commitment letters Wednesday. Gatling will play baseball for the Eagles while Kee committed to the basketball team. Photo by Laieke Abebe / Neuse News
LA GRANGE — A pair of North Lenoir Hawks will represent a different bird at the next level.
Jayden Gatling and De'Shaun Kee committed to the Wake Tech Eagles Wednesday in different sports after strong senior campaigns. Gatling helped the Hawks go 17-6 this season, batting .306 with a team-high 16 RBIs, three home runs, 11 stolen bases and a .514 on-base percentage. Gatling was arguably better defensively, making numerous catches in the outfield to preserve runs as North Lenoir allowed more than five runs three times.
"The biggest transformation between his junior and senior years was in his role as a leader," North Lenoir baseball coach Jackson Massey said. "He was also the backbone of our defense and during the end of the year he played a big role for us offensively. Off the field, he was a great kid and he's not even close to his full potential. He's got a bright future and opportunity at Wake, not just for baseball but life in general. It's been exciting to watch him and he's poised for success."
Gatling, who plans to study business administration at Wake Tech, said he felt at home with the Eagles.
"When I went to visit, I felt comfortable with everything," Gatling said. "It's a great facility, the coaches were wonderful and the program was a good fit for me."
Gatling said he learned a lot from North Lenoir and can't wait for the upcoming season.
"For me, the biggest thing I learned was the importance of being a team player," Gatling said. "I've had some great teammates here at North Lenoir and I'm excited for this next step."
In basketball, Kee helped the Hawks reach the postseason for the fourth straight year and posting a strong statline. The guard was one of the most revered shooters in the Eastern Carolina Conference and averaged 15.8 ppg, along with 3.4 rpg, 3.1 apg and 2.3 spg.
"He's been in the program for four years and really came into his own this year as an All-Conference selection," North Lenoir basketball coach Anthony Loftin said. "Wake Tech picked up a tremendous basketball player and a great student. This is a wonderful opportunity for him to play basketball at the next level."
Kee plans to study sports management and said he's excited for the opportunity.
"I got along well with the coaches and my parents really liked them," Kee said. "I'm hoping to follow in my godmother's footsteps with sports management — I had gotten hurt in a game and afterwards she figured out the problem. I started learning from her and want to do the same thing for a career."
Kee said he learned several traits at North Lenoir which will carry him to Wake Tech.
"You have to be yourself," Kee said. "If you try to act differently, it's definitely going to show. Also, listen to your coaches and teammates if you're going to be successful in sports."